What Are the Brain Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting has become a popular dietary approach to help people lose or manage their weight. It has also been promoted as a way to reset metabolism, control chronic disease, slow ageing and improve overall health. Meanwhile, some research suggests intermittent fasting may offer a different way for the brain to access energy and provide protection against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. This is not a new idea – the ancient Greeks believed fasting enhanced thinking. But what does the modern-day evidence say?

First, what is intermittent fasting? Our diets – including calories consumed, macronutrient composition (the ratios of fats, protein and carbohydrates we eat) and when meals are consumed – are factors in our lifestyle we can change. People do this for cultural reasons, desired weight loss or potential health gains.

Intermittent fasting consists of short periods of calorie (energy) restriction where food intake is limited for 12 to 48 hours (usually 12 to 16 hours per day), followed by periods of normal food intake. The intermittent component means a re-occurrence of the pattern rather than a “one off” fast. Food deprivation beyond 24 hours typically constitutes starvation. This is distinct from fasting due to its specific and potentially harmful biochemical alterations and nutrient deficiencies if continued for long periods.

Excerpted from Mirage News

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